The terms ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ are not always interchangeable.

‘Sex’ refers to physical or physiological differences between male, female and intersex bodies, including both primary sex characteristics (the reproductive system) and secondary sex characteristics (such as breasts or facial hair).

‘Gender’ is a term that refers to social or cultural distinctions associated with a given sex; it is generally considered to be a socially constructed concept.

‘Gender identity’ is the extent to which a person identifies with their sex assigned at birth. In many Western cultures, individuals who identify with a role that is different from their biological sex are called transgender.

‘Sexuality’ refers to a person’s sexual interest in and attraction to others, as well as their capacity to have erotic experiences and responses.

 

Whether you are ‘cis‘ (someone whose gender identity is the same as the sex they were assigned at birth), ‘trans‘ (someone who identifies as a different gender to the one they were assigned at birth) or ‘non-binary‘ (someone who doesn’t neatly fit into the categories of male or female) – we aim to work with you to understand which tests and advice are most helpful for you.

We will not ask you questions which are not relevant to your care, we won’t make any assumptions about anyone and we will not make you talk about anything you do not want to discuss with us. Whom you have sex with, your gender identity and your genital anatomy (i.e. what genitals you have) are things we may ask you about to make sure that we offer you the right advice and tests.

 

At all SHiP venues we aim to provide a specialist sexual health service for everyone. We encourage honest, confidential conversations so that we can provide the best and safest care.

Every Tuesday afternoon, at SHiP University of Plymouth, we run the Focus clinic which focuses on LGBTQI+ aspects of sexual health. This is open to all, even if just curious.  

We have good working links with The Laurels Gender Identity Clinic (GIC) in Exeter, a specialist Gender Identity Clinic (GIC). All GICs will accept referrals from throughout England.

The Intercom Trust is a lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans community resource in Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and the wider South West. They run a variety of self-referral support groups and training sessions.